Just Because Paula Deen Says ‘The N-Word’ And Loves A Good Plantation Wedding, It Does Not Make Her A Racist


So. I know y’all must have heard about this Paula Deen situation, but in case you missed it I’m here to help. First off, let me just say that I’m not being entirely sarcastic in my headline. My parents taught me to define racism under very specific guidelines, and not to confuse it with prejudice or ignorance. Racism is related to those things but it is a far more powerful act involving certain power and privilege. It’s the ability to take prejudice and build an educational system out of it, or build a corporation, or create marketing techniques. It’s a heavier act, and it’s different. It is not, for example, ‘just’ using the word ‘nigger.’ Sidenote: I’ve said before that I don’t like writing out the phrase the n-word. I’d do it if I thought people actually went around using that phrase in the privacy of their own homes, but since I’m pretty sure Paula Deen and many others out there have never actually referred to any black person as a ‘the n-word’ I’m gonna go ahead and make us all uncomfortable by writing out the actual word: ‘nigger.’ Kinda sucks, doesn’t it? Anywho, Paula Deen, like many Americans, has used the word nigger but she (and certain members of the media) wants us all to know that she doesn’t condone racism. Click inside to learn more.

Jezebel has the report:

The deposition from the lawsuit against Paula Deen for being the racist worst (paraphrasing) is now public — and it ain’t pretty.

As we now know, butter’s head bitch Paula Deen, gave a videotaped deposition as part of a discrimination lawsuit she’s facing from Lisa Jackson, the former general manager of her Savannah restaurant. Jackson says that “racially discriminatory attitudes pervade” Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House, the restaurant Deen owns with her brother, and that she was subjected to “violent, sexist, and racist behavior” during five years working for Deen’s various businesses.

For her part in the deposition, Deen did say she talked about her brother’s dream barbie plantation wedding based on a restaurant she went to that “represented a certain era in America.” Yes, she’s talking about the period immediately surrounding the Civil War. However, she also said she knew people might “read something into it” if she used exclusively black servers at the wedding, and she just didn’t want to deal with the hassle of it all. Such a hassle to have people think you’re racist when you’re just trying to celebrate “the look and professionalism” of slaves!

LMAoooo. OMG, you can’t make this ish up. Now here is what I mean about the difference between prejudice and racism. If Paula Deen had ‘just’ said the word ‘nigger’ I’d say she was prejudice, or ignorant, or a product of her environment (or all of the above), but I’d not be so inclined to call her a racist. Until she uses her prejudice to actually do something, I’m not sure she’s a racist. However, if this accusation from her former employee is true– and racism and racist attitudes actually became a part of her business and business ethic– then things get a little tricky. Here are a few more excerpts that Jezebel pulled from the deposition:

Though she denied having used the N word when discussing the wedding waitstaff, Deen admitted to Billips that she used the term in the past.

“Yes, of course,” Deen replied when asked if she ever said the word.

Deen said she employed the term when telling her husband about an incident “when a black man burst into the bank that I was working at and put a gun to my head.”

“I didn’t feel real favorable towards him,” Deen said of the alleged bank robber.

But wait! There’s more:

Deen also admitted she was “sure” that she’d used the word since that incident. Specifically, Deen said she “probably” used the word while “repeating” a “conversation between blacks.” She also said that her family, including Hiers, do not discriminate against any race and object to the N word “being used in any cruel or mean behavior.” Jackson’s attorney responded by asking Deen to explain how the N word might be used in a “non-mean way.”

“We hear a lot of things in the kitchen, things that they — that black people will say to each other,” Deen said. “If we are relaying something that was said, a problem that we’re discussing, that’s not said in a mean way.”

Billips also asked Deen whether she thought “jokes” containing the N word would be hurtful. Deen said she was unsure.

“That’s kind of hard. Most — most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks. Most jokes target — I don’t know. I didn’t make up the jokes, I don’t know,” said Deen. “They usually target, though, a group. Gays or straights, black, redneck, you know, I just don’t know — I just don’t know what to say. I can’t, myself, determine what offends another person.”

Though she said she does not tell “racial” jokes herself, Deen said she was “sure” members of her family have told jokes that contained the N word and that her husband “is constantly telling me jokes.” Billips asked whether Deen is “offended at all by those jokes.”

“No, because it’s my husband,” she said.

What I like about the Jezebel piece is that they speak to Paula Deen’s particular ‘brand of racism’ and I think that phrase is perfect. There are, sadly, myriad ‘brands’ of racism in this country and Paula Deen’s (if you consider her a racist) is just one of them.

I’m not shocked by this report, but I think it’ll be interesting to see how different media outlets spin it. People magazine, for example, wants us to know that Paula Deen totally does not condone racism, and other publications will say Paula is the worst racist ever in the history of racism. I actually think Paula Deen is typical, because I think a lot of white people say ‘nigger’ behind closed doors (or behind what they think are closed doors). The part where she talked about liking the look of blacks dressed professionally and serving people? Yes, that sounds hella racist… and at the same time I think it points to the fact that many people have an ‘image’ of a particular racial group with which they are most comfortable. If I had the balls to do it (lol)… I’d suggest that many people ‘prefer’ their black men, for example, in a very particular way.

I sorta, casually hinted at this on our Throwback Kanye West post when I talked about some of his lyrics. When he references the Cosbys in Can’t Tell Me Nothing, he’s pointing to the fact that educated, funny, family-friendly, upper middle-class, professional blacks are the preferred ‘brand’ of blacks in America and ya know what? He’s not wrong. So yeah sure. Maybe Paula Deen’s the worst of the racist worst. But I’m more interested in the fact that she represents an entire culture– our culture– of prejudice and ridiculousness that then builds systems of racism everywhere. She may be the villain right now, but she is by no means the real problem. IMO.

Have y’all been following this story? What are your thoughts? Is Paula five seconds away from coming out with one of those ‘apology’ statements, and if so… then what?

  • Meghan

    She is a total and complete racist. The plantation wedding??? That is some straight up KKK stuff there……

    • Shannon

      Meghan, see? That’s what I mean. Paula Deen and the KKK surely have some things in common, but how do we differentiate between people who say racist things and people who lynched, murdered, raped, burned alive, and castrated hundreds of thousands of innocent blacks in the South? Maybe we don’t differentiate, but personally I’d rather align Paula Deen with a lot of other Americans than with the KKK. Again, the two ‘brands’ of racism aren’t mutually exclusive; I just think they’re different.

    • Meghan

      I agree, they are different. But I think Dean is in different category than many other Americans. That plantation wedding idea is effed up. That is some serious racism.

    • Krissy

      I think casually racist people like Paula Deen ENABLE racists like the KKK.

    • Meghan

      Excellent point, Krissy. So do I. I also hate all the excuses I keep hearing in defense of this woman. The “Oh, she’s an old Southern woman, that’s expected”. I hope we one day get to a point when no one tries to defend such behavior.

    • omurica

      I just want to point out that the KKK did not only do the aforementioned to black people, it did it to all kinds of people. I think whether she knew what she was talking about it is fueled by ignorance and hate, and the only way to stop it is by not acting the same way.

    • Mike

      @ Shannon – “people who lynched, murdered, raped, burned alive, and castrated hundreds of thousands of innocent blacks in the South?” That is historically and factually false and perpetuates and exaggerates the baseline debate in the wrong manner.

    • Shannon

      Mike, you’re saying the KKK DIDN’T lynch, murder, rape, burn alive, and/or castrate hundreds of thousands of innocent blacks? How many then?

    • Gillian

      I understand people liking the theme of a plantation wedding. I know a lot of girls who like the Scarlett O’Hara dresses and the movie Gone With The Wind. But to ensure the wait staff are black? I know people like details, but that is a little too specific to me. I don’t know if Paula truly is racist or had a racist moment? Neither are good. Only time will tell if this was a one time slip, or how she truly feels.

    • @Gillian — IMHO, Paula is racist and stupid. Plain and simple.

    • Tony

      You all need to get a life! She said this 20 years ago! 20 years ago!! Most of you sniveling liberals weren’t even born yet. And 20 years from now you’ll wish you hadn’t said, acted or done many of the things you are currently comfortable with.

    • @Tony — “And 20 years from now you’ll wish you hadn’t said, acted or done many of the things you are currently comfortable with.”

      The difference is that Deen is a “celebrity” who sells her persona for profit. If your persona sucks people won’t buy anymore.

    • Krissy

      Tony, where are you getting the 20 year timeline from? In her deposition, she is talking about events that occurred at Bubba’s Oyster House…which opened in 2004. The person bringing the charges worked there as a general manager, who they didn’t hire right away. These events occurred at maximum 8-9 years ago, but more like 5-6 years ago.

      Whatever happened to personal responsibility and being accountable for your actions? She wouldn’t have been sued if she didn’t make these statements at work, in front of employees.

    • Krissy

      Oh yes, the woman who brought the suit worked at Bubba’s from 2005-2010. So 20 years ago is fiction.

  • courtney

    hmmm, i feel many ways about this. none of them good. my only hope is that with each generation we lose some of the bigotry that dominated the past. i will say this in response to your comment (“educated, funny, family-friendly, upper middle-class, professional blacks”) above: i think it’s safe to say that “educated, funny, family-friendly, upper middle-class, professional” ANYONE is the preferred brand of human…regardless of race. at least that’s what i’ve seen where i live.

    • Shannon

      courtney, yes I agree that this is the preferred brand of human everywhere but I have to acknowledge that it’s different across cultures. One measure of this is television– we have many depictions of whites who fall under that category, but we also see successful television shows and characters that don’t fall under the ‘educated, funny, family-friendly, upper middle-class, professional’ umbrella. If you look at blacks and other cultures as they are represented on television, it’s different. My point is that a poor, uneducated black man SIGNIFIES something very different from a poor, uneducated, white man or a poor, uneducated Indian man, etc. Again, I agree with your point , and I also feel like perception of these things can vary greatly.

  • AwesomeMargie

    This is perfectly written. I’ve never been a fan of Paula and her cooking and well, her whole schtick but she is just another person in America saying crazy things that other people say and do but aren’t exposed because they aren’t celebrities. That’s what shocking to me. The way so many people are so non-chalant about things when it comes to race issues in America. Regardless, well said, Shannon.

    • Shannon

      AwesomeMargie thank you. That’s one thing that I’m trying to point to– the celebrity factor makes it shocking but in reality Paula is (sadly) one of many Americans who thinks and talks like this.

  • Nicolas Agra

    Same on you Paula… go take your fatty foods somewhere else.

  • Brandyjk

    You have eloquently phrased what a lot of people (mostly of her “culture”) don’t get. Why do we want to relieve that time? Because there were fancy parties? That’s good reason? And I’m sorry, but if my husband says something “off color”, YES I am offended and embarrassed and YES I call him out on it. I am a southerner by birth and I don’t use that language or tolerate it from my (still in the south) conservative family. I can’t stop them when I’m not there, but dammit, my children will NOT learn that word from the mouths of people they love.

    Also: Shannon, you used myriad correctly, and so I

    • Brandyjk

      oops, got cut off:

      Also: Shannon, you used myriad correctly, and so I heart you forever.

    • Shannon

      Brandyjk, LOL thank you <3

    • AwesomeMargie

      I call my husband out on some things he said or did. Just because we’re married doesn’t mean I’m going to always agree with him especially now since we’re parents. The Kid is all ears so we have to mind our Ps and Qs.

  • BriK

    I prefer ALL races to be educated, funny, family-friendly, upper middle-class, and professional.. there’s not a bad word in that sentence!

    Who doesn’t want to hang out with funny and family-friendly whites/blacks/browns/red/purples/greens?

    • Shannon

      BriK, hmmm. I don’t necessarily have the same preference. When I say ‘educated’ I mean educated in an institution of higher learning. Personally, I know lots of people who haven’t been educated in such a setting and prefer them to many people who have been. ‘Educated’ (by this definition) to me does not signify ‘good’ and neither does ‘upper middle-class.’ Funny and family-friendly are different because they do not point to a particular class, but my argument was that when a black person on TV or in real life is not a particular brand of funny and family-friendly (like the Cosbys) the public reaction and reception is different.

  • Silly

    Backstory: I live in the northwest, but I work for a company in the south. I travel down south frequently, and have to deal with my coworkers on many levels — professionally, socially — when I’m down there.

    The northwest (Washington and Oregon) is sort of known for not only being tree-huggers, but has a fairly strong liberal base. That being said, whenever I travel down south, the way racism permeates a discussion among coworkers astounds me. It’s not blatant, it’s more of a cultural norm. I am witness to conversations that would get you fired and turn you into a social pariah up here in the NW.

    So when I look at this whole Paula Deen issue, that’s what I think of. There is a level of accepted cultural racism among [some] whites in the south that — when regarded from the outside — is completely shocking. But they don’t even realize their attitudes and references are racist. And I think those that aren’t racist don’t even realize it’s happening either .. that’s why I say it’s an accepted level of racism — they think it’s normal. That’s how embedded this is in the southern culture.

    As an aside, sometimes I like to tell them about my child (who is biracial) just to see the reaction in some people. It’s quite interesting…

    Insightful post that one wouldn’t normally see on a celebrity blog site. :) Good job.

    • Shannon

      Silly, thanks for sharing this. I absolutely agree that cultural environment is a factor here. It gets tricky though because the minute you bring it up (and I DON’T think this is what you’re doing here), someone reads it as ‘Oh, everyone in the South talks like this,’ or ‘Oh, it’s okay since she’s an older, Southern lady.’ It’s such a fine line! But it def needs to be acknowledged, so thank you again.

    • Southern

      I just happened across this article when googling why the hell Deen was actually being talked about. As a guy that grew up in the south and has lived north. Racism is everywhere and practiced by every race, but let me give you a real glimpse into the black/white relations in the south. Up north people hide it really well since something like 60% of the black population lives in the southeast(might have changed with the last census). I know people from the north that can count the number of black people they have seen on one hand. When you are around their culture at school, work, and anywhere else you up not caring about hurting their feelings. I grew up around poor white and black folk. We treated people in response to what type of a person they were, not skin color. We aren’t afraid to talk about racial issues because we aren’t scared of the hornets that come out of that nest. I’ve seen black people use the racism card because volunteer organizations ran out of free food to give away, the race card be used because a white person didn’t want to pay for some random black girls food, the race card be used because a white person that had an earlier appointment with a doctor got seen before a black person. Hell yes we call black people out on dumb shit like this. Now that I live in the north I see racism just as much as I did in the south. Here people just seem to be too scared to admit it because the idiotic idea that geography dictates racism. You can’t even talk about the problems up here, even when trying to help because admitting a nonwhite person isn’t perfect is viewed as racism. Just because we aren’t scared to tell stuff like it is does not mean we are racist. Just means we call a duck, a duck.

  • Krissy

    “The part where she talked about liking the look of blacks dressed professionally and serving people?”

    We might be thinking of different excerpts, but I dont think she was talking about professionally dressed people. She was talking about dressing them as plantation slaves and having them serve white customers. In addition, she was talking about not just the “wait staff” being dressed as slaves (which could include servers of all colors), she wanted specifically black people as the servers. There is something very creepy about that.

    Paula was 16 in 1963…not 1863.

  • Krissy

    I just read this (I added **):
    “The complaint alleged “racially discriminatory attitudes pervade” Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House where Jackson claimed ***African-American employees were required to use separate bathrooms and entrances from white staffers.*** Jackson also said African-Americans were held to “different, more stringent, standards” than whites at the restaurant and that [Paula’s brother] regularly made offensive racial remarks.”

    Completely awful.

    • Shannon

      Krissy, ‘African-American employees were required to use separate bathrooms and entrances from white staffers’– thanks for updating with this. I didn’t even see that part, and you’re right. That is absolutely racism, as I define it.

  • Erica Croce

    Shannon, we need to be BFFs. Because I just had a moment related to this topic and I wrote a very long comment about it, asking for your opinion. And it didn’t post. Not sure if you can do any magic on the back end to find it (maybe it has to be approved for language like “racism”?)

    Either way, if you were my BFF, I could just call you up and talk it out with you. And then gush all over the awesome songs in your Yeezy throwback post, brainstorm all our favorite songs for your next post, and talk about guys and stuff. So I guess what I’m saying is…get on that.

    • Shannon

      Erica Croce, LOL! I looked in a few places for the comment and never found it. I’m gonna let our tech people know because a few people have been having trouble posting.

      But I agree, we do need to make this BFF happen. Promise to ‘get on that’ ;)

  • Alecia

    I feel like this is an issue that will never be fully resolved in our lifetime. Racism is such a complicated issue. There’s de facto and de jure racism that we learned about in school but really there are so many other kinds that aren’t talked about that need to be addressed.
    Paula Deen’s actions to me are indefensible. Just because you have the ability to do something doesn’t mean you can do it.
    Having lived in the south and being black I know that racism is still active but I also know not everything that happens is the result of race. Sometimes it’s just a plain lack of judgment.

  • Shannon

    Great comment from Emma G, who was having trouble posting and sent me this:

    “Its so important to differentiate the prejudice and ignorance of white people from the deplorable acts of white racists. I grew up in a place famous for white supremacist hideouts and young skinheads. There are, certainly, so many kinds of racism. In my high school experiences and post-college professional experiences as an adult, racist sentiments were often discussed with my as if I obviously also shared these opinions (as a fellow white person). This kind of ignorance was easy because the population was almost entirely white. Its kind of amazing how little racist people actually use the word “nigger” even behind closed doors where I come from. And yet, this place is incredibly hostile to black people in particular. And does admitting to using the word really say anything about Ms. Deen’s racism? Not in my opinion. It says more about her region and a level of comfort surrounding what is not politically correct and probably a higher level of direct contact with non-whites. In my experience in my home state and leaving this place for the more “liberal” east coast, I noticed that more direct contact with diversity often results in less subtle language when expressing racism. To me, these things don’t say very much about a person’s bigotry. I think focusing on language promotes the sanitization of these issues which, in turn, leads to a lack of critical thinking and a cheapening of the things surrounding racism and slavery. And (side thought) when we aren’t thinking, we vote in laws that lead to problems like the mass incarceration of black people while thinking that we aren’t prejudiced because we don’t use the n-word (people totally say n-word!!). What struck me most was her reference to “a certain era” and willful disregard of the fact that there is no way to separate that “era” from racism. Good post!”

  • Whitey

    There is no group more racist than blacks! They say the “n” word, but they say it all the time and its ok. It’s in their music, tv, movies, but if one white person says it, they are racist and need to be killed. Please! Stop being stupid!
    There is no other group on this earth that is more persecuted for racism than whites, and they are the least racist.

    • giggles

      Whitey, where do you get off talking about persecution? YOU don’t have a clue about persecution because you were never persecuted because of the color of your skin. The only difference between you and I is that my skin is darker yet, somehow, that made it okay for others to persecute my ancestors. Yes, blacks use the “N” word indiscriminately and loosely and I don’t agree with it but, to use it as justification for others to use it, is unfounded. We still have work to do within our own community in regards to this and other issues but, that does not give anyone else the right to disrespect us. By the way, whites have been more “persecuted” for racism as you like to call it, because they are the ones that started it. When you are trying to stop the re-occurrence of a problem you have to attack the problem at the root- hence the “attack” on white people as you call it. When we all recognize where the issue stems from, we can address it in the proper manner and stop blaming each other.

  • susanna

    just wanna say to the folks saying “well, i’d prefer ANY race of people who are educated, funny, family-friendly, upper middle-class, and professional” etc, please consider the context, and also the specificity (and relevance) of shannon’s phrasing. the operative word is “their,” in a country built by the literal commodification of black people by white people. this continuation of a consideration on the part of white people of their preference of “their” black people is a continuation of the commodification of black people. i think it was a super smart thing to say, and spot on (just as it was spot on in west’s song).

    there are other things to be considered as well – the institutionalized prejudice against non-white (and non-straight and non-male) people in a white-centered country doesn’t exactly offer mega opportunity for all that education whites would like to see “their” black people getting. (google “redlining,” for instance, and consider how that echoed down. research harlem’s history. think about stuff like legacy students in top colleges and universities that were not allowing black students a few generations ago. this sh*t is ALIVE AND WELL.)

    and to prefer someone in such a specific category is …. well, gross. it does not allow for the possibility of some culture of quality outside that picture. it does not allow for individuals. it does not allow for creativity like street art, drag, hip-hop, even stuff like country music. hell, even folks like van gogh. it’s so narrow. and …. gross. that’s the best word i have for it. it’s gross.

    as for ms. deen herself, i agree with you, shannon – she’s not saying anything that’s not said allllll the time by white people in america, behind closed doors. but that in no way condones it. i hope this crappy incident helps move the country forward. boy, do we need it.

  • DJ

    I totally agree I don’t think she is racist. I mean if were all truthful who hasn’t ever said that before? I mean out of anger or before we knew better? Most of us including myself had said it, in a time in our lives. Most likely when we were alone and not in front of people. But if you really think about it, were all a little racist not like certain groups out there with that kind of hate but the little things

    • giggles

      DJ, I’m glad that you can admit to being a little racist, you should be honest with yourself. But, I am a black woman and I can honestly say that I have NEVER said that word in my life. Even as a child I knew it was wrong and have never allowed my children to use it so yes, there are people who can say that they have never used that word, even in anger or in humor. It is offensive when I hear anyone say it – even my fellow black people. Now that you have admitted to saying the word, you can commit to never using it again, even in anger, if you choose to do so.

  • LOdragonmom

    For Paula Deen’s “people” to say she grew up in a time in the South where this went on and therefore should excuse her behavior is unacceptable. That’s as bad as the Germans after WWII saying that they had to go along with what happened to the Jews because “that’s just how it was”. BS!!

    • @LOdragonmom — EXACTLY! Excellent point.

  • Silly
  • Jim

    I can’t help but feel bad for Paula. I just have a real hard time reading these reports and thinking she’s like some kind of real hardcore racist that needs to be put to a stop. I mean, she got fired from the Food Network because of this. I just feel like it isn’t justified? Is that bad? I can’t help but feel like it’s a mix of “too-honesty”, out of context, and oppotunistic people who don’t have any shame taking someone down to get a minute of fame.

    Am I a racist who should be fired from my job because I watched a Lisa Lampanelli comedy show live, and thought it was absolutely hysterical?

    • giggles

      Jim, I understand you point but, you either know that you are racist or you don’t. I love Lisa Lampanelli as well but, the difference is that she makes fun of everyone including herself. She does not discriminate against whom she makes jokes. It seems that Paula only found humor in certain types of jokes and for me that, is a big difference. Maybe Paula is too honest but, maybe she is also too racist.

  • justhere567

    It is politically incorrect when a white person uses the N word.. but if all you white people are offended and of course blacks.. then the blacks should stop using the word.. one last thing to say Black Entertainment Television seriously how do they get away with that…

  • Nicole

    According to Janie Fonda, Ted Turner wanted a plantation wedding – all black servers at his authentic, colonial estate in Georgia. Jane Fonda and her adopted black daughter referred to this on Oprah’s Next Chapter and they were all fine with it. It wasn’t even a point of controversy. So, why aren’t people talking about Ted Turner????

  • 4sailing

    Calling her ‘butter’s head bitch’ is just as bad as Paula using the n-word. Two wrongs never = right.

  • Truth in logic

    when are you people going to learn? Only unregulated, capitalistic, greed matters in this country………..period.

    Accept this simple fact and you will be free of this drivel.

  • Tired of being POLITICALLY CORRECT

    If they want to set up an old style, HISTORICALLY accurate Southern plantation type wedding, then there is nothing wrong with the plans to have an all black wait staff. That is HISTORY, NOT RACISM!!!!! There IS a difference. It is simply portraying things on a southern plantation AS THEY ACTUALLY WERE!!!!! I’m sorry if history offends people, but that IS the way it was back then, and you can’t call them RACIST simply because of wanting to do this wedding in this way. GROW UP.

    • Shannon

      Tired of being POLITICALLY CORRECT, hmmm. I think the question is why? Why would someone want a historically accurate, plantation-style wedding with an all-black wait staff? And just because it’s historically accurate it doesn’t make it less racist. It was racist in the 1800s (even if it was a way of life– especially because it was a way of life) and it’s racist now. Portraying things in a historically accurate manner makes sense in terms of education and art (i.e. if this was a museum exhibit or a film), but for someone to just say ‘I want that because I like the way it looked’ is something else. Of COURSE they can have any type of wedding they want. And people are entitled to their opinions about that wedding, lol!

    • Claudlili

      Right! and people have the right to be racist and pay the consequences of their attitudes. If I give my boss the finger I’ll probably get fired but I I won’t go to jail. Why do you think people are afraid to call someone a racist? like they don’t want to offend?

    • giggles

      Perhaps you should have listened to the rest of the deposition if you think that this conversation is only about the “plantation wedding.” So, if they also wanted to have lynchings and lashes with whips, I guess you would be alright with that as well? How about the crosses burning in the yard, would that be okay for you too? At what point is it history and at what point is it offensive?

    • @giggles — Excellent point.

  • Claudlili

    Shannon, I don’t agree with your definition of racism. Believing that one group (saying racial group is not really correct is it? being we are all one race) is superior to another and has certain “race specific” attributes is racist. You don’t need to actually do anything.
    I actually do say “the n word” privately and get offended if I hear it although I’m not black. There are different degrees of racism and she may not be a dangerous racist but she is a racist.

    • Shannon

      Claudlili, I hear you. I think what you define as ‘racism’ I define as ‘prejudice’ or even ‘racial prejudice.’ I mean, the difference is not that major. The point is that it’s all a bad idea.

      As far as Paula Deen goes, once I saw more information about her actual practices in the restaurant I did feel like she definitely had earned the title ‘racist.’

  • John

    Fist of all, I am a black man. Second of all, while I don’t condone what she has said, there is a point to be made here. I have said this publically as well as privately, even to my family. You cannot expect a racist person to not say this word, when members of my own race use it, period. It is like saying someone is a jerk, but if someone of a different race calls the other races a jerk, those races rise up to protest. This is so hypocritical.

  • John

    Sorry for the mispell of First.

  • giggles

    The bottom line is that no one should be using the “N” word regardless of your race, not even in a joke. There are plenty of other words we can use, we have a vast vocabulary of words from which to choose. I am a black woman and I have NEVER used that word and refuse to allow my children to use it in any way, shape, or form. If we all follow suit, the word will be in our distant past. I always give people the benefit of the doubt but, after hearing the parts of the deposition from Paula Dean that I have heard, I have to agree that she is racist. She must know that certain words are offensive and for her to pretend not to know that they are, she has to be dumb, ignorant, racist or all of the above. Just by listening to the types of jokes that she finds humorous tells us that she is prejudice not only against blacks, but also against, Jews, gays, and anyone that is not white apparently.

  • Jason Hunter

    I think it is stupid that we spend so much time worrying about this type of stuff. There are bigger and worst things to worry about in todays world. Get over it and move on. This poor lady is sorry. If see wasn’t popular many people wouldn’t even care.

    • @Jason Hunter — “There are bigger and worst things to worry about in todays world.”

      The common respect of other people is a pretty big thing to worry about, I think. Calling people the N-word, “fag”, “retarded”, etc. may not seem like a big deal in one instance to some but taken in sum, in a culture that sees no problem with this kind of disregard for others, I think it becomes a huge problem. Just because you don’t see it as a “big deal” doesn’t mean that others do not.

    • Serenity

      @Jason Hunter Some of the “bigger and worst things to worry about” snowball from situations like these. The attitude that it’s okay to see some races or groups as inferior can grow into the idea that it’s okay to belittle or hold back said races or groups which can lead to the belief that it’s okay to harm them.

  • Sam

    I try to look at folks intent. In this case Paula Deen did to have malicious intent . She grew up right in the middle of the civil rights movement. A very different South compared to today. Im not trying to make excuses just explain the mind set. As more time goes by racism will eventually become insignificant. It was only 49 years ago that the Civil Rights act of 1964 was passed. This is not a very long time for issues of this nature.

  • Kymberleighe

    I think it’s interesting or even self-righteous of the writer to comment on the misdeeds or poor choice of language of others when using statements like “butter bitch” in the article. Casting the mantle of “bitch” on anything pertaining to a woman lends itself to a disrespectful mean-spirited character-bashing label that is often irreparable. And even more insulting and self-righteous is the writer’s strong stance on not writing the phrase “the n-word” and used “the word” repetitively. Stated reasons like, “We don’t use the “n-word” in general conversation.” Though somehow, the term “ish” respectfully replaced “shit”, and we all know how we don’t use “ish” as frequently as “shit”. It was easier for you to replace a common curse word than to respectfully spare the use of a long-standing historically hurtful and damaging term to make a point. Clearly, as a writer, full command of the English language is not lost to you. While I appreciate your sarcasm, informative, and even facetious narrative, it escaped me why a capable writer would choose to maintain such a low standard of expression while kinda insinuating that we should all be better folk, including Paula Deen. You should be better folk too.

    • Shannon

      Kymberleighe, well. The ‘butter bitch’ term is from the Jezebel article– not my words. And the truth is, I personally say ‘ish’ a lot, rather than shit (might be a Mom thing). I don’t actually ever use the word ‘nigger’ (or ‘nigga’ for that matter), nor do I use the phrase ‘the n-word.’ But if I’m quoting someone, why should I use the appropriate, family-friendly term ‘the n-word’ when that’s NOT the phrase the person used? Paula Deen never called anybody ‘the n-word.’ She said ‘nigger.’ And if it sounds harsh to the ears, it’s because it should. Again, these are not words that I use.

      I’m sure I did come off as self-righteous. I don’t think there’s any other way to say, ‘I think this is wrong, but I think this is right’ without sounding like you know better than someone else. However, I completely agree with you– we all need to be better folk. Which is why I tried to point to the fact that Paula Deen is NOT the main problem here– she’s a reflection of a culture to which we ALL belong, and therefore must all take some responsibility for.

    • Pinkster

      I’m not understanding why Kymberleigh chose to repeatedly refer to Shannon as “the writer”, in the same breath as calling out the fact Shannon did not use the politically correct, watered-down version of an offensive word. Does Kymberleigh think she is Emily Post? Not to be insulting, but her writing style would suggest that she, in the least, would like to be. I completely understand why Shannon chose to make use of a glaringly disagreeable word to make a point. It is an ugly word. It makes people uncomfortable. It, and its slightly less unpleasant substitutes, should immediately be thrown into an incinerator and eliminated from our culture, as well as our vocabularies. Then we’d all be better folk.

    • Serenity

      @Kymberleighe Personally, I find the phrase “the n-word” to be as offensive (in journalism/reporting) as actually saying/writing it out. It’s as if the reporter is a naughty child wanting to say something bad but in a way that she or he won’t actually get in trouble (think, “No, Mom, I said ‘fruck you!'”) I would think that “racial epithet” would get the point across equally well.

      (Shannon, this rant isn’t directed at you. I think this post is just fine. The above is something that has been bothering me since I saw a local newscaster report about something and refer to “the n-word.” Oh, and the little caption beneath her profile also wrote it out.)

  • Oscar in Miami Beach

    40 years ago the n-word was not a pejorative or offensive word.It was the way to addressed a black person,specially in the South.Now everybody makes such a stink about it and I hear it all the time among blacks.What the hell is going on?.So they can use it but everybody else can’t?.

  • CMt

    She is not being sued or punished for using the nword 20 years ago. She is being sued for what has been going on in the restaurant she and her brother own between 2005 and 2010. It’s about sexual harassment, treatment of employees, and racial slurs. It’s more than one set of statements. If that was all she had done it would be a case of over reaction. It is about the way she does business.

  • Darlene Toddy DeVries

    What Paula Deen said and did was wrong…but how many times do I hear racist remarks made by black people, in their music and talk? Wrong is wrong….no matter what color. So we execute the white woman…but racist remarks made by another color is OK????? I think not.

    • @Darlene Todd DeVries — Can you cite which people of “another color” have made comments like these? Are we talking about regular everyday people or celebrities who have TV shows and attempt to sell products to a wide audience. Like it or not, Paula Deen is a celebrity and now that the public knows about her actions, they are choosing not to support her career anymore. It’s as easy as that. There will always be racist people, we cannot make that fact go away. But we can, as the public at large, choose who we will support with our dollars and it’s clear that people no longer want to support Paula Deen because of her ignorant actions.

  • wojo777

    Paula Deen can out cook Aunt Jemima and day of the week. Yah Sir